“Cobalt Mine” in Fredericktown, Missouri, Is Focus of EPA Administrator and Rep. Jason Smith Recognition Event

2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the Superfund Redevelopment Initiative

07/31/2019

Contact Information: Ben Washburn (washburn.ben@epa.gov)913-551-7364

Environmental News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Fredericktown, Mo., July 31, 2019) - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) commemorates the 20th anniversary of the Superfund Redevelopment Initiative (SRI) at the Madison Mine/Anschutz Mine in Fredericktown, Missouri. The mine is sometimes referred to as the “Cobalt Mine.” In 2018, Missouri Mining Inc. (MMI) purchased the Madison Mine/Anschutz Mine with a pledge to clean up and restore mining operations to extract cobalt, which could result in a significant positive impact on the local economy.

EPA launched the SRI in 1999 with the goal of returning formerly contaminated lands to long-term sustainable and productive reuse for communities across the country. Returning Superfund sites to productive use has resulted in dramatic changes in communities by improving the quality of life, raising property values, and providing needed services to communities.

“Over the past 20 years, the Superfund Redevelopment Initiative has proven that incorporating reuse early in the process removes barriers to redevelopment and ensures that cleanup plans promote future economic and recreational opportunities,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Thanks to SRI, hundreds of formerly contaminated sites have been transformed into hubs of economic, recreational or residential activity. Promoting redevelopment and community revitalization is a top priority of this Administration and one of the key goals of the Agency’s Superfund Task Force.”

In 2019, Missouri Cobalt LLC, a company affiliated with MMI, constructed a mine tailings processing facility to recover metals from existing mine waste, creating 30 full-time jobs. Reprocessing the tailings produces valuable metals concentrates, including cobalt, a rare earth mineral, while reducing the toxicity and volume of the mine wastes.

Missouri Cobalt LLC projects that site cleanup, to be conducted by MMI-affiliated company Environmental Operations Inc., could employ up to 50 people, and that the new mining operation could create more than 250 permanent local jobs, plus construction jobs for a project total of 600 to 700 temporary and permanent jobs. Reopening the Madison Mine/Anschutz Mine would nearly double the number of production and extraction job opportunities in the local area and significantly impact the local economy through increased use of local goods, services and housing.

Before the Agency’s Redevelopment Initiative, sites were cleaned up but not necessarily put back into productive use. By considering reuse early in the site cleanup process, the Redevelopment Initiative helps ensure that desired future uses are compatible with site cleanup remedies and removes barriers that could keep areas vacant or underused.

Depending on site conditions and community preferences, sites can be reused for a multitude of purposes, including commercial, recreational, ecological and residential uses. The Redevelopment Initiative has helped communities turn former lumberyards into parks, landfills into solar farms, former smelters into health clinics, and gravel pits into baseball fields. EPA provides communities with points of contact, as well as case studies and best practices to help bring these projects to fruition.

Overall, approximately 1,000 Superfund sites are in reuse today – more than half the number of sites on Superfund’s National Priorities List. EPA has data on over 8,600 businesses at 529 of these sites. In fiscal year 2018 alone, these businesses generated $52.4 billion in sales, which is more than four times the amount EPA has spent at these sites. These businesses employed more than 195,000 people who earned a combined income of $13 billion. Over the last seven years, these businesses generated at least $263 billion in sales.

Over the last few years, as part of the Superfund Task Force work, EPA developed a nationwide list of Superfund National Priorities List sites with the greatest expected redevelopment potential. The list helps promote a renewed focus on accelerating work and progress at all Superfund sites, while working to successfully return sites to productive use after cleanup is completed.

As part of the commemoration, EPA is releasing SRI’s 20th Anniversary Report.

For more information on regional redevelopment benefits, see the 2018 Redevelopment Beneficial Effects reports for each of our regional offices.

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Christopher Holt